A MelanieM Review: Kimo & Mike (Storming Love: Blizzard #2) by Neil S. Plakcy

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

Storming Love- Kimo and MikeFormer competitive surfer and Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka is in his element in his home state of Hawaii. However, his partner, fire investigator Mike Riccardi, wants to head to the mainland for a ski trip and reunion with some old buddies of his. As a bitter storm rages outside the condo where they’re staying, one of Mike’s college buddies is feuding with his wife and the other is making sexy overtures to Kimo. Will these tensions ruin the vacation and perhaps even drive a wedge between Kimo and Mike?

Just those words Kimo and Mike, ok just Kimo, can make my heart flutter!  I have been in love with Kimo Kanapa’aka when I first met him in Neil S. Plakcy’s Natural Predators (Mahu #7) and started working my way back to the beginning of the series.  And with each story I fell deeper and deeper in love with this complicated, nuanced man.  Kimo is Hawaiian not just by blood but in the depth of his feelings and emotions. He has a large, extended family he interacts with daily, sometimes hourly depending upon the situation at hand.   Hawaii is at his center, it’s his heart and in a sense his stability.  Kimo heads into the surf when things get too painful or complicated, needing that to bring him peace and refocus him once more.

But here, Neil S. Plakcy removes Kimo from his safety zone and support system and takes him into the cold mountains in the mainland. In  Kimo and Mike,  the plot isolates Kimo and Mike from all but their vacation companions due to blizzard conditions.  Between the cold, Kimo’s inability to ski (which also removes him from the group), and the stressful couples they are with, things start to get shaky immediately.

I am such a Kimo fan that nothing can detract from any story he is a part of. But for readers new to Kimo and Mike, this short story conveys none of the enormous hurdles and obstacles (many of their own making) they had to overcome to become the couple they are when this story opens.  It happened over a number of books, not scenes and their relationship was borne out of enormous pain and anguish each caused the other.  Each man is gorgeous in his own multiracial way and people are always hitting on them but never with the history (ok almost never) of one of the  couples here.  Plus the stress is pushed to overload when the couples disagreements turn physical and Mike and Kimo must balance their professions with their partner’s needs.

This story ended too quickly for me.  Of course, I feel that way about all Kimo Kanapa’aka and his Mahu stories (Mahu is Hawaiian for homosexual).  This will give you just enough of a taste of this tantalizing couple to want more and send you to the first story Mahu (Mahu #1).  It’s a swift read yet it is sturdy in plot and strong in characterizations.  Add it to your TBR list today along with the other Storming Love: Blizzard stories.  If I was the type to say I ♥heart this book, well, then this is where it would happen. I ♥ this book!  Normally I wouldn’t do that. See what Neil S. Plakcy and Kimo make me do?

 

Cover artist: Kris Jacen does a nice job of branding the series although I could wish for a little more individualization as far as the couples go.

Sales Links:  MLR Books          All Romance (ARe)         Amazon         Buy It here

Book Details:

ebook, 35 pages
Published January 30th 2015 by MLR Press
ISBN13MLR1020140367
seriesStorming Love: Blizzard #2

Books in the Storming Love: Blizzard series are:

  • Jens & Elliot (Storming Love: Blizzard #1)
    Kimo & Mike (Storming Love: Blizzard #2)
    Seth and Casey (Storming Love, Blizzard #3)
    Layne, River & Damion (Storming Love: Blizzard #4) by Vicktor Alexander (release date: 2/13/15)
    Gavin & Morgan (Storming Love: Blizzard #5) by Nicole Dennis (release date: 2/20/15)
    Stokes & Ford (Storming Love: Blizzard #6) by Jackie Nacht (release date: 2/27/15)

MelanieM’s Best Books of 2014

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Best Books of 2014

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MelanieM’s Best Books of 2014

 

Winnowing down my list of Best Books is always a near impossible project.  To me it always feels like trying to leave a book shop during a particularly wonderful sale.  My arms are full to overflowing with books, with ones toppling off the pile here and there as I totter over to the sales counter.  My impulse is to go back and get more because all are books I loved and need to have near me.  Sigh.  And this year makes it particularly hard.  So many great books came out this year,  terrific short stories,, fabulous endings to series I love…..so this is as close as I got…check it all out below:

Best Series:

 Best Holiday/Whatever Time of the Year Anthologies:

Best Contemporary Fiction:

 

Best Science Fiction:

Best Fantasy:

 

Best Supernatural/Paranormal:

 

A MelanieM Review: Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations (Mahu #7.5) by Neil S. Plakcy

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Sex, mayhem and justice in the Aloha State as openly gay Honolulu homicide detective tracks murderers, missing people & a dog with unusual appetites.

Accidental Contact and Other coverOpenly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka has had a long and storied career with the Honolulu PD in the Aloha State of Hawaii.  In this selection of ten short investigations in the Aloha State, Kimo goes from rookie officer to seasoned homicide detective in a range of cases from a hearse carrying more than bodies and a psychic with some surprising information for Kimo and his partner.

A wonderful introduction to the rich cultures of the Hawaiian populace as seen through the eyes of its complicated native son.  The stories are captivating, sometimes humorous and always richly layered.  A must for all lovers of detectives on the hunt and mysteries waiting to be solved.

I first discovered Neil Plakcy and his Hawaiian detective, Kimo Kanapa’aka, towards the end of the Mahu series with the novel Natural Predators (Mahu #7). That book was such a revelation.  Plakcy had created in Kimo Kanapa’aka a richly nuanced, highly complex character, one steeped in his family and Hawaiian culture.  Coming in at the seventh  story,  I had missed out on all the character and relationship growth that had taken place prior so that Kimo, his domestic partner, and, foster son could have an established and happy home life.  But the novel had enough glimpses into past stories to let the reader know that the climb to such a contented arrangement has been fraught with pain, difficulties, and a few partings.  That alluring back history was enough to send me racing back to the beginning to see  how it all began and meet Kimo at the start of his career.

Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations allows a reader new to the Mahu series a chance to dip into the life and cases of Kimo and his department at various stages of his life and career.  As the blurb informs “from murderers to missing babies to a shaggy dog with an unusual appetite, openly gay Honolulu homicide detective Kimo Kanapa’aka has his hands full…” with cases both extraordinary and colorful.  But what really sets this detective apart from his counterparts is Plakcy’s ability to bring all aspects of the myriad Hawaiian cultures to life via vivid imagery and a use of colloquialisms and dialects, slang and tonal flow of the voices that swim in that great pot of peoples, traditions, lore, and even societal  prejudices known as Hawaii.

I can get lost in the conversations alone  that Plakcy lays out for his characters. It can sound like music, all soft and flowing with all those 5 vowels and 7 consonants that make up the Hawaiian alphabet, yet what they are actually conveying can be painful and harsh.  Such a dichotomy originates and flows from the land itself.  The author makes the reader see and feel the real Hawaii, not just those postcard beaches and Diamond Head scenes so familiar from travelogues everywhere.  From the ghettos and dark streets teaming with characters as unforgettable as the cases they appear in to the hillsides where the huge and diverse Kanapa’aka family reside, this author takes us on a journey limited only by the natural boundaries of the islands.  And no matter where the destination, or level of society, Plakcy imbues his characters so throughly with all the flaws and human dimension that all levels feel authentic and believable.  Even the criminals here  have their own language with which they impart their own rules and lawlessness yet still remained tied in their own way to their families and cultures.

Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations gets its name from a most memorable excuse an offender offers up to Kimo and his partner during an investigation.   I won’t spoil the reference for you all, its just one of the many delights to be found here.  Normally with a collection, I rate the stories but I can’t do that with this collection.  Each brought its own groups of surprises and memorable moments.  Some ended abruptly just as shaggy dog stories should, others continue to the final satisfactory ending you would hope for.  The end result of them all is to send me once more back to that first story and being my journey with Kimo all over again.

When I think of fine regional voices, the ones that pull you immediately into a culture and region, Neil Plakcy jumps immediately to mind.  His Mahu series should be on everyone’s list of Must Have, Must Read stories and series.  And Kimo Kanapa’aka rates just as highly among the detectives I have come to know and love.    Let this collection be a quick introduction to this marvelous series and author.  And then let it guide you back to all the other fine stories and a romance and love affair to savor.  I highly recommend them all.

 

Cover art by Kris Jacen.  I love the cultural feel of this cover.  Works perfectly for this collection of stories.

Sales Links:  MLR Press     All Romance eBooks (ARe)   amazon    Accidental Contact

Book Details:

ebook
Published August 22nd 2014 by MLR Press
ISBN13MLR1020130286
seriesMahu #7.5

Books in the Mahu series in the order they were written and should be read for character and relationship growth and timelines:

  •  Mahu (Mahu #1)
  • Mahu Surfer (Mahu #2)
    Mahu Fire (Mahu #3)
    Mahu Vice (Mahu Vice #4)
    Mahu Blood (Mahu #5)
  • Zero Break (Mahu #6)
  • Mahu Men: Mysterious and Erotic Stories (Mahu #6.5)
  • Natural Predators (Mahu #7)
    Accidental Contact and Other Mahu Investigations